In this chaos, when the Spanish soldiers are facing one days march from Cusco, a young man emerges from an apparent nothingness. I know it may sound like a narrators solution when the action has to speed up. But then: The young man presents himself to Pizarro:
I, Manco Inca, is son of Inca Huayna Cápac!
Pizarro had heard of Manco Inca because he was included in the peace proposal by Chaves and Haro, the two Spaniards who had protested against the death sentence of Atahualpa and who had been captured, had been treated friendly and who had suggested that Spaniards and Incas should be friends and that a certain Manco Inca should be installed as a new ruler.
Pizarro had rejected them and their plans.
But now Pizarro must think: Another Inca-son, a brother of Huáscar and Atahualpa, but on the maternal side belonging to Huáscars line, thus hostile to my enemies, Atahualpas warriors. A legitimate heir to Tawantinsuyu? My rescuer! Hmm … not that bad!
Manco is accompanied by a couple of nobles confirming that they have been escaping from Atahualpas General Quizquiz and his forces who have done everything possible to annihilate Huáscars family.
Well! Manco is the man Pizarro needs right now he is to take Cusco. Manco will be supported by Huácars supporters, who have survived Atahualpas bloody repression. In addition, Manco thinks he knows that General Chalcuchima, who has accompanied Pizarro and his troops from Cajamarca, have kept his colleague, General Quizquiz in Cusco, informed of the movements of the Spaniards. On November 13, 1533, that information cost General Chalcuchima his life, and he is burned alive when he refuses to converse to Christianity.
Quite differently from the Spanish chroniclers, Titu Cusi Yupanqui – who was Inca Mancos son – claimed almost forty years after the events that his father and the Spaniards had been in contact. About his fathers first meeting with Pizarro – who he called the marquis – he dictated to his secretary:
Thus, he departed from Cusco with more than 100,000 people and came as far as Vilcacunga, where he met the marquis, who had already captured Challcochima. The marquis was very happy to see my father, who had traveled with his golden and crystal litters and his royal crown. He dismounted and embraced the marquis, who had already dismounted from his horse. My father and the marquis made an alliance with each other.
Inca Manco meets the Spaniards with his royal crown, ie. as royal who just awaits the actual coronation ceremony as Sapa Inca. In Titu Cusi Yupanquis account, Inca Mancos legitimacy is beyond any discussion.
Back to the Spanish chroniclers: Spanish riders advance towards Cusco. In the outskirts of the city, they meet the largest number of warriors from General Quizquiz army, screaming and determined. Stone-slinging, with bow and arrow and clubs, these soldiers, who have loyally fought for the late Atahualpa, shall defend the city against the Spanish soldiers. Three horses are killed there and many Spaniards are injured.
The fightings stop at nightfall. Bonfires of Atahualpa-loyals can be seen and shouts be heard. What the Spaniards can not know is that General Quizquiz has decided to withdraw. He has lost several hundreds of warriors, and in the shelter of the night dark the survivors creep from the battlefield.
At dawn the Spaniards march in battleformation into Cusco – prepared for close combat, but there is no one to fight. They not only kick to an open door, they march through the open city gate. Quizquiz has really gone! The bonfires should make the Spaniards believe they were preparing for the next battle, but the general has chosen to save his soldiers and his own life, Pizarro must conclude.
The inhabitants have been released from General Quizquiz siege army and pay tribute to Inca Manco in a luxurious litter that they have not seen in the long year the city has been occupied. And they pay tribute to Francisco Pizarro on horse and the procession with horses who first stop at the War Square. By Manco, the Spaniards are characterized as friendly and harmless, so they must be treated as honored guests.
It is November 15, 1533. Just one year after the Spanish first meeting with Inca Atahualpa, Pizarro embraces Manco publicly, promises to make him Sapa Inca, and declares that he has come only to free Manco from slavery and to liberate the people of Cusco from this tyranny.
The inhabitants of the city must have laughed of relief, screamed and cried of the sudden freedom. Unbelieveable! They must have asked countless questions about the strange aliens, at least they must have thought infinitely about the divine powers of the strangers that have raised General Quizquiz’ curse. Someone must also have talked about those Spaniards who visited the city months before and about their connection.
Spaniards set up tents in the War Square, and there they sleep the first month with the horses standing saddled in case of an attack. However, Pizarro, Almagro and the other leaders accomodate more comfortable in palaces belonging to deceased Inca, ie. in panacas populated with descendants, servants and Incas warriors.
Without having loosened a single shot, without having drawn a sword, without having horse-trampled a native, the Spaniards have marched into this most amazing city that they have dreamed of for so long. The trip from Cajamarca has cost the Spaniards six of their own soldiers – and several thousands of natives life.
Pizarro has exploited the civil war between the two brothers. With Manco as the new puppet-Inca, he has taken a position for the Huáscar lineage in Cusco. Constantly he must be prepared for attacks by General Quizquiz, so he demands day-and-night alert and urges Manco Inca to set up an independent army. Manco is pleased to meet this requirement, as he sees himself further recognized. Pizarro sincerely hopes that Mancos army will be able to withstand any possible attack by General Quizquiz.
Five days after Pizarro has urged Manco Inca to mobilize an army, this has 10,000 men ready who are accompanied by 50 Spanish cavalry led by Soto. Together, they have to fight Quizquiz; the campaign last ten days and becomes no great military success, for both General Quizquiz and his warriors have had enough. They want to go home. They go home!
In Inca optics, this is no victory of heroes. Yet it becomes part of the staging when Manco is crowned. Manco can be praised as Cuscos liberator who has forced the occupying forces un the run. Manco is Tawantinsuyus new Sapa Inca!
Mummies, ancestors of skin and bone, are each seated on its litter and carried by descendants. The Sun is celebrated as their father. Eating, drinking and dancing on the crowded War Square.
For the supreme theologian, Vicente de Valverde, this must have been a VISION OF HELL: Not the dancing and drunkenness, which the Spaniards did not understand was part of the Incas worship of gods and neither all that often followed after dance and drunk – that was also known in Spain – but the Incas devilish dealing with the ancestors: mummies being carried around and worshipped as they were gods. Certainly the devils work, he must have pondered and perhaps cried or raged by despair.
It’s the Spaniards who have installed Manco, so between thirty uninterrupted days of dancing and drinking – as a Spanish eyewit-ness wrote – there are also solemn moments.
Pizarro and Manco Inca step forward accompanied by chiefs and Spanish gentlemen. The Spanish Kings Requerimiento, that the natives are to be taught in the true faith and, moreover, to submit to King Carlos and God, must be proclaimed by Pizarros new twenty-year-old secretary, Pedro Sánchez de la Hoz. The solemn text is translated and everyone present – according to Miguel de Estete, another of the writers present – seemed to have understood the message.
Again, the ritual is carried out with the royal standard raised to the sound of trumpets, after which Manco and the leading Spaniards drink of a golden cup. Common citizens use wooden mugs and sing many, long ballads and thank the Sun for allowing their enemies to be driven from the land and for sending Christians to rule them. This was the substance of their songs, although I do not believe that it was their true intention, wrote a Spaniard.
(pp. 356-360 in volume 2, reproduced without notes and illustrations):
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO AZTECS AND INCAS: MYTHS AND STORIES FROM MEXICO AND PERU. Edited, translated, retold and commented by Mikael Witte. Volume 1 + Volume 2
476 pages + 540 pages. Richly illustrated in colors
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